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Prep hoops: La Cueva girls top Farmington, keep pace with Piedra Vista

La Cueva’s Kaya Ingram, left, drives through Farmington’s defense for a basket Saturday. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

Goal achieved for the La Cueva High School girls basketball team.

With District 2-5A front-runner Piedra Vista in town just a few miles away, it was a pertinent reminder to the Bears that they had to keep pace with the Panthers as the regular season draws to a close.

On Saturday afternoon, third-ranked La Cueva (19-2, 4-1) was being given fits (in spurts) by visiting Farmington for nearly three full quarters, but the Bears eventually pulled away for a 68-51 win over the ninth-ranked Scorpions.

“This is definitely a really important game,” said senior guard Kaya Ingram, who sparked the Bears with 22 points. “Because (catching Piedra Vista) is our main goal, and that’s gonna be a tough one.”

At Del Norte on Saturday, the second-ranked Panthers (22-1, 5-0) beat Eldorado 53-36, keeping Piedra Vista a game in front of La Cueva.

Against Farmington (16-7, 2-3), the Bears never trailed, but that doesn’t tell the entire story. Several times, La Cueva extended out to a sizable lead, only to see Farmington close the gap.

Early, the Bears led 18-11, but Carolena Steven and Kiiyani Anitielu buried back-to-back 3-pointers for Farmington to cut the deficit to one. Ingram hit a 10-foot runner in the lane to close the quarter and give La Cueva a 20-17 lead.

The second quarter was even more pronounced.

Carolina Romero dropped in a 3 for the Bears, and Ingram later followed with consecutive three-point plays for a 31-19 lead.

At 34-21, Farmington mounted another charge, scoring 10 straight over 75 seconds and closing to 34-31.

“When they get hot, they can go on those runs,” La Cueva coach Robert Perea said. “But I thought every time they made that push, we did a good job slowing down a little bit and finding a good shot. We’re better when we attack the basket.”

And, in fact, Perea was constantly on his team to both run the floor and attack the rim – especially against one of the few elite teams in 5A that has less overall size than La Cueva.

And it was this attitude that led to the key moment in the third quarter. Farmington had gotten down nine but had come back once again to trail 44-43 with 2:19 left in the quarter.

La Cueva sophomore Jerzie Jones drove toward the basket and knocked down a Farmington defender, scoring the basket off the glass while she was fouled. Scorpions coach Larenson Henderson argued that his defender had her feet set. It was ruled a blocking foul.

Thus, this turned into a three-point play for Jones, and La Cueva scored the final nine of the quarter for a 53-43 lead.

Farmington had no rallies left after that sequence.

“That play definitely sparked us and re-focused us,” Perea said. “From that point on, we played some really good basketball.”

Farmington lived largely from the perimeter, with sporadic success. The Scorpions shot only four free throws, all in the final two minutes of the game.

“Every time we pulled away, we’d make a turnover, and they’d get some momentum,” Ingram said. “But once we got composed and started making our layups, our free throws and all that, we were able to pull away.”


FARMINGTON (16-7, 2-3 in 2-5A): Kamalani Anitielu 2, Audrey Henderson 2, Carolyn Thomas 10, Carolena Steven 5, Kiiyani Anitielu 12, Jade Henry 6, Davina Begay 10, Tatum Thomas 4. Totals 22 2-4 51.

LA CUEVA (19-2, 4-1): Rylie Ottmann 12, Jerzie Jones 8, Carolina Romero 14, Kaya Ingram 22, Teona Savic 12. Totals 25 14-21 68.

Farmington 17 14 12 8 — 51

La Cueva 20 16 17 15 — 68

3-point goals: F 5 (Henry 2, Kiiyani Anitielu, Thomas, Steven); LC 4 (Ottmann 2, Romero 2). Total fouls: F 17; LC 14.







ST. PIUS (8-12): Alex Garcia 12, Sebastian Ellison 9, Nick Pascuzzi 7, Zeke Jaramillo 7, Jonah Arnett 5, Andres Lucero 4, Geno Trujillo 4, Zach Neel 3, Nick Vargas 1. Totals: 18-FG, 11-21-FT 52.

GRANTS (11-11): Adrian Ortega 17, Isaiah Johnson 16, Adam Garcia 7, Eddie Baca 7, Colton Moore 6, Romero Hudson 5, Nick Trujillo 2. Totals: 23-FG, 12-20-FT 60.

St. Pius 7 7 16 22—52

Grants 11 12 16 21—60

3-pointers: SP 5 (Garcia 3, Pascuzzi, Neel), G 2 (Johnson, Hudson). Team fouls: SP 15, G 20. Tech.: SP, Arnett.


ELDORADO (18-3): Jacob Riach 2, Elijah Parham 6, Devin Domina-Lovato 11, Sean Thompson 2, Matt Vigil 11, Tim Nitafan 2, Deraje Agbaosi 31, Dane Coker 5, Dylan Briggs 3, Andrew Petersen 6. Totals: 25-FG, 26-37-FT 79.

PIEDRA VISTA (5-18): Devin Reed 5, Carter Quintana 10, Aiden Ackerman 2, Mason Van Otteson 17, Dylan Percy 8, Nathan Heidke 1, John Dekay 3, Adam Johnson 4, Lane David 7. Totals: 18-FG, 16-22-FT 57.

Eldorado 21 18 23 17—79

Piedra Vista 14 11 18 14—57

3-pointers: E 3 (Domina-Lovato 2, Briggs), PV 5 (Reed, Quintana, Percy, Dekay, David). Team fouls: PV 20, E 20. Fouled out: PV, Johnson.



PIEDRA VISTA (22-1): Adriana Eaton 10, Elaina Watson 9, Adrianna Cortez 7, Celina Watson 4, Chaunelle Penn 4, Lexi Mitchell 8, Lanea Billy 11. Totals: 18-FG, 14-20-FT 53.

ELDORADO (6-14): Laney Lucero 19, Rachel Williams 3, Jaylen Jefferson 2, Maria Burela 8, Ashton Armenta 4. Totals: 13-FG, 8-14-FT 36.

Piedra Vista 14 11 10 18—53

Eldorado 13 5 10 8—36

3-pointers: PV 3 (Billy 2, Cortez), E 2 (Williams, Lucero). Team fouls: PV 12, E 15.



Albuquerque Academy 62, Los Lunas 50

Eldorado 79, Piedra Vista 57

Evangel Christian 51, Jemez Valley 41

Grady 80, Hondo 48

Grants 60, St. Pius X 52

La Cueva 69, Farmington 44

Lordsburg 65, Capitan 29

Monte del Sol 66, Academy for Technology and The Classics 54

Navajo Pine 68, Tse Yi Gai 31

Robertson 72, Santa Fe Indian 35

Valencia 68, Belen 39


Cloudcroft 60, Mesilla Valley Christian 18

Escalante 56, Questa 53

Hondo 44, Grady 40

La Cueva 68, Farmington 51

Lordsburg 56, Capitan 21

Morenci, Ariz. 45, Cobre 36

Pecos 59, Rehoboth 33

Piedra Vista 53, Eldorado 36

Tohajilee 51, Mountainair 34

Tse Yi Gai 69, Navajo Pine 55


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